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Blending Security With IT to Strengthen Airport Security

Since 9/11, travel through the world’s busiest airports has changed dramatically. Now more than ever, extensive security investments protect these dynamic environments from threats of terrorist attacks, crime, theft and vandalism. Security professionals charged with protecting these facilities must comply with updated rules and regulations while addressing the needs of passengers and airlines. Physical security isn’t the only focus in today’s threat landscape, as network security is critical, as well. The approach to safeguarding these facilities requires security leaders to seek out investments in technology that offer greater protection, business intelligence, and IT efficiency. Airports also continue to deploy advancements in passenger processing technology, such as self-service kiosks and mobile-friendly services. According to the survey, innovative technology will grow over the next five to 10 years. This technology will include wearables, biometrics, context-aware services and robotics. But none of this will be possible, without collaboration between operations, security and IT leadership. Security and IT teams traditionally operate in separate worlds. Security officials are responsible for keeping visitors, staff and assets safe from harm, while the IT department monitors and protects networks from bad actors looking to cause harm. Today, the two have converged, as more and more devices shift to the network, allowing communications between multiple systems that form a more cohesive approach to overall security. Collaboration between security officials and responding agencies is critical in the event of an emergency. Sharing video, alarm information and other critical data with police, government agencies, emergency services, and airport operations permits a more informed response, rapid investigation processes and greater awareness across the organization. A multi-disciplined, multi-layered security strategy augments personnel and enables operators to engage in real-time monitoring and situation management while supporting investigative and forensic needs. There’s no question that coupling innovative security technology with traditional approaches, such as video surveillance, can provide officials with more data than ever before to help make better-informed decisions. Analog systems are going away, replaced by modern IP video surveillance solutions that deliver increased functionality, including system management and accessibility from smart devices and the ability to add new layers of intelligence. The video surveillance solutions of today are capable of providing security departments with more actionable data and video analytics are creating business intelligence with this data to optimize operations. Analytics provide operators with unique information about an individual’s path through a terminal, as well as give operations managers a look into traffic flow within a specific area to proactively identify potential issues of congestion. Using this information, airport operations management can streamline operations and deliver greater capability and increased ROI. It is critical, however, for the IT department to be involved in securing the networks on which this information is shared. The threat of data breaches, along with the rising cost of addressing these breaches and security incidents, are pushing more and more security strategies to the top of the operations agenda and security planning initiatives.